For most of Carl Veaux's life, he knew he had a half-brother. Yet, for 50 years, he wondered if he would ever meet him.
Brothers Roy Strausbaugh and Carl Veaux have discovered they have a lot in common.
This week, thanks to modern technology and a lot of research, Veaux's dream finally came true as he met his brother in person, after nearly a year of phone conversations, to celebrate his 75th birthday.
And they realized they have a lot more in common than just their mother's eyes.
Veaux said he learned he had a half-brother while in his 20s living in Caldwell, N.J., yet waited years before he decided to do some digging into the family tree.
"In those days, it was taboo to talk about things like that," Veaux said. "I had family back then so I couldn't. But now I'm retired and you think about things like this."
"My sister is into genealogy and she went digging in Ancestry.com. She researched it and discovered he was in Erie, Penn.
The half-brother, Roy Strausbaugh, knew that he had been given up at birth and was raised by his grandparents, moving to Yorktown, Penn. When he was 6. It wasn't until he was in his 40s that he learned the identity of his biological mother.
Strausbaugh was contacted one year before, on Carl's 74th birthday, and he said his reaction was that of "Yeah, right?"
"My wife told me to be careful, so we quizzed each other, and soon there were enough factors that corroborated his idea that we were brothers, so we kept the conversation going since then," Strausbaugh said.
As time went by, they learned they had more in common than just a mother. It was as if they had lived together their whole lives.
"We're both Masons, in the American Legion, we're Democrats, and we both like Cheerios for breakfast," Veaux said.
Most significant, they each shared the same occupation, education.
Veaux taught for 37 years at various elementary schools. Strausbaugh retired after 53 years in secondary education, having been a professor and later dean at Edinboro College.
They said there is a resemblance in the eyes and forehead. Veaux said they also had the same hair until he moved down to Florida.
They met for the first time at the airport Sunday, and the emotions were amazing, Veaux said.
"It was the best birthday present than anything material. This is flesh and blood, this is a relative I'd never met who I'd looked forward to meeting," Veaux said.
Veaux has shown his half-brother's family around the area, have taken a ride on the dinner train, looked through scrapbooks at Veaux's house, among other things.
On Wednesday, the family went to the Veranda in Fort Myers to celebrate Veaux's 75th birthday.
"I didn't know there was another brother to Carl, so I was shocked," said Eleanor Swartz Jazie. "It's wonderful with today's technology that you can find anyone."
As far as going up to see Strausbaugh up north, Veaux said he would go "When the steelhead are biting."
"We would love to have him and his dear wife Charlotte come up to visit us, and show him the world I live in," Strausbaugh said.